Carefully read this transcript of an interview that Peter Jennings had with John Kerry and tell me if you think the man who thinks and talks like this should be president. Senator Kerry has had over 30 years of public life to come up with well-formed and clear views on one of the most important moral questions facing our society. This is the best the man can do? Notice how many times Jennings has to ask him about his views. Notice what he says doesnt make any sense whatsoever. I think is utterly sad this individual is a candidate for the presidency of the United States.
Peter Jennings: You told an Iowa newspaper recently that life begins at conception. What makes you think that?
Sen. Kerry: My personal belief about what happens in the fertilization process is a human being is first formed and created, and that's when life begins. Something begins to happen. There's a transformation. There's an evolution. Within weeks, you look and see the development of it, but that's not a person yet, and it's certainly not what somebody, in my judgment, ought to have the government of the United States intervening in.
Roe v. Wade has made it very clear what our standard is with respect to viability, what our standard is with respect to rights. I believe in the right to choose, not the government choosing, but an individual, and I defend that.
Jennings: Could you explain again to me what do you mean when you say "life begins at conception"?
Kerry: Well, that's what the Supreme Court has established is a test of viability as to whether or not you're permitted to terminate a pregnancy, and I support that. That is my test. And I, you know, you have all kinds of different evolutions of life, as we know, and very different beliefs about birth, the process of the development of a fetus. That's the standard that's been established in Roe v. Wade. And I adhere to that standard.
Jennings: If you believe that life begins at conception, is even a first-trimester abortion not murder?
Kerry: No, because it's not the form of life that takes personhood in the terms that we have judged it to be in the past. It's the beginning of life. Does life begin? Yes, it begins. Is it at the point where I would say that you apply those penalties? The answer is, no, and I believe in choice. I believe in the right to choose, and the government should not involve itself in that choice, beyond where it has in the context of Roe v. Wade.
Jennings: Can you imagine yourself ever campaigning against abortion?
Kerry: Well, I don't think — let me tell you very clearly that being pro-choice is not pro-abortion. And I have very strong feelings that we should talk about abortion in a very realistic way in this country. It is a very complicated, incredibly important moral issue that people have to face, also. And if you talk to any woman, as I have, who has faced that choice or who's been raped or who's suffered incest or who's faced that kind of choice, there are huge moral implications.
I think leadership needs to honor that, those moral implications, appropriately, and I think we need to adhere to the standard that Bill Clinton, in fact, so adeptly framed, that abortion should be rare, but legal and safe. And that's the standard that I apply. But I think we should talk more about alternatives to abortion.
Jennings: If I were really skeptical, Senator, I would say that when you use the phrase "life begins at conception," you're attempting to speak to those people for whom that is a slogan, making them totally opposed to abortion.
Kerry: Not in the least. It's a belief that is a belief of mine. It's consistent with everything I've always said over 35 years of public life. It is not a new statement, but it is consistent with my personal belief system about who chooses and what happens. I do believe we should talk about alternatives to abortion. I think we should talk about adoption. I think we should talk about, I think it is responsible to talk about abstinence, but I also believe you should talk about proper education of people — sex education.
You need to have proper knowledge about use of condoms to avoid AIDS. You need to be smart about these things. So what we need to do is have an honest dialogue and not succumb to the cynicism that sort of reduces these things to simplicity. It's not simple. It's a very complicated, highly emotional, very searing decision. I don't want the government making that decision for people, and that is a bedrock belief. But it doesn't change what I believe about how life goes on.